What we learned from the ‘Empire’ Q&A

13 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Empire’ Superfan Don Lemon Dishes on Being ‘Straight-Up Cookie’ and Why There Should Be a Kanye-Lucious Ticket in 2020.

If anyone thought Fox breakout hit was over-the-top last year, the second season premier (9 p.m. Saturday, the Empire cast and producer sat down for a Q&A at Carnegie Hall with The New York Times‘ Elvis Mitchell to whet fans appetites for the Season 2 premiere on Sept. 23 (9 ET/PT). And anybody’s that’s from the hood knows that is very hard to do.” “To not only break it for yourself but for your sons, for your black boys that’s coming up,” she continued. “So that’s why I think they’re kind of heroes in a very American way.” Later during the Q&A, Gabourey Sidibe, who plays Lucious’ assistant Becky on the show, teared up as she thanked Lee Daniels for all the help he has given her in her career. “Lee is the first person in the world who looked at me, looked at my skin color and looked at my talent and said, ‘Yes.’” Another poignant moment came when Ta’Rhonda Jones spoke about how she was torn between accepting the role of Porsha and a new job at a hospital, at which point she asked God for a sign. “My brother was killed in April.

The Lyons and their embattled music industry dynasty returns with Lucious (Terrence Howard) in prison, his three sons at one another’s throats and his scheming estranged-wife Cookie (Taraji P. Henson to say, “He’s got the job” and Terrence Howard to proclaim, “He’s the baddest (rhymes with Mitch) in the room.” He even sang a little of the song too, only people watching online didn’t get to hear it because the censors hit the mute button to avoid paying royalties to Robin Thicke, Pharrell and the Marvin Gaye estate.) Smollett told the audience, “I said I had to play to play Jamal. When Deadline announced Tomei’s role earlier this summer, they described her as “a Forbes list billionairess, Mimi is a lover of hip hop music, social trends, high-end fashion and beautiful women.” In an interview with TVLine last month, Empire show-runner Ilene Chaiken said that Mimi’s sexuality was hardly incidental. So TVLine is speculating that Tomei’s character will romance Cookie citing this Season 1 reference to the Lyon matriarch’s jail time as possible evidence. Fox screened the first episode of the season for a standing-room only crowd at New York’s Carnagie Hall – which was appropriate because the show already feels more saturated with a New York vibe than last season.

I slid up in Lee Daniels’ DMs like Hiiiii.” The Oscar nominee explained, “I was having lunch with (series creator and her Precious director) Lee Daniels said if you like that, we can just ignore that and figure it out. The episode picks up three months after last season’s finale, opening with a “Free Lucious” rally in Central Park with Cookie playing to the crowd, screaming: “How much longer are they going to treat us like animals?” With patriarch Lucious Lyons behind bars, last season’s power struggle between his sons has been dominated by the one who wanted to take over the hip-hop music moguls empire the least: middle son, Jamal (Jussie Smollett).

Henson: “I’m like, my character beats one son with a broom and calls the other the F-bomb! … I figured, we’ll get this awesome piece of work in the can, Fox will choke and it will end up on cable.” “At first, I thought I was auditioning to play a rapper on Lucious’ label,” she explained. “Then I thought I wanted to play Tiana. One of the best moments happens when Lucious is beamed into a conference room – if anyone could Skype from prison it would be Lucious – and he lets loose with an evil laugh. But they told me they had something else in mind for me.” More interestingly, she explained what she’d been doing up until that fateful audition: “I was working as an assistant at a nursing home.

When it came time to give her boss notice, she said, “Hey, shawty, I’m gonna be on this show so you’d better get all the work out of me while you can!” I would like to play Cookie’s long-lost brother who comes back into her life after being the black sheep of the family or getting cast off or being in a mental institution.

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